The day opens its white page,
spreading herself like so much possibility,
you take your pen, pausing
before you begin so you can hear
the jackdaw caw high above
your tiny shadow and the snowdrop’s
insistent blooming, somewhere
is the knowing glance of badger,
each unafraid to write their stories
on wind and soil and you see they
offer ink for your pen in
a hundred different colors.
—Christine Valters Paintner, The Wisdom of Wild Grace
Dearest monks and artists,
Like many monks and writers, I love morning time for writing. I feel more refreshed and focused while still connected to that dreamtime consciousness before I have had a chance to get corralled into planning mode. It is the time when poems most often arrive to me.
I am thrilled to share a new series of poetry videos created by two local filmmakers in Galway, Luke and Jake Morgan, who also happen to be very talented brothers. These videos are to celebrate my next poetry collection being published by Paraclete Press in October – The Wisdom of Wild Grace. It is a wonderful way to see my poems in new ways and offer you a visual invitation. If you don’t like the visual addition, you can simply close your eyes and hear me reading you each poem. The first video we are sharing is for my poem Aubade (which means a poem written for the dawn or morning). I also have a poem published this week at Bearings Online, click here for “Say Yes to theMuse” (also from the forthcoming collection).
As a writer first and foremost, I have been working on lots of writing projects including the Earth Monastery Prayer Cycle which we shared last week. The audio podcast versions of each morning and evening prayer service will start being released weekly in October.
Looking ahead, in spring 2021, my next book from Ave Maria Press will be published – Sacred Time: Embracing an Intentional Way of Life. This book has been developing in me for many years and looks at the widening rhythms of breath, hours of the day, sabbath rhythms of the week, lunar cycles of the month, seasonal cycle of the year, seasons of a lifetime, ancestral time, and cosmic time as a way to bring more attention and intention to our moments. It is an invitation to embrace Kairos time more often in our lives. I was delighted to have UK artist Alexi Francis create some beautiful illustrations for each chapter. This was the book I focused on primarily during our sabbatical year, so it carries many of the fruits of that time.
The next book I am starting to write now is on Mary and her many names and titles. I have long been fascinated by the fact that Mary is identified with so many images and archetypes – Virgin, Star of the Sea, Mother of Sorrows, Queen of Heaven – and I am writing thirty reflections to invite readers more deeply into each of them. I am also thrilled to be collaborating with U.S. block print artist Kreg Yingst on creating an artwork for each reflection and name I explore. That book will be published by Ave Maria Press in spring 2022.
And of course, I am already at work on a series of poems for a third poetry collection. Right now they all seem to be love poems of various kinds, so that will likely be the overall theme. I am immensely grateful for a rich writing life with so many projects dear to my heart to dive into.
I am so grateful to live a life with time for writing, and time to connect with our amazing global community through all of our various programs and offerings. I am grateful for how many of you love to work through many of my books alone and with others as a way of giving yourself the gift of retreat in the midst of your daily lives. (You can journey through The Artist’s Rule in our online community this fall. A wonderful choice if you want to nourish your inner monk and artist).
With great and growing love,
Christine Valters Paintner, PhD, REACE
PS – I led a one-hour webinar this past spring for Paraclete Press on the Celtic idea of thresholds as a way of understanding our current individual and collective transitions. It is now available to rent for $5 at their website.
Video credit: Luke Morgan at Morgan Creative